AJ Allmendinger survived two overtime restarts and battled back from damage to his racecar to win Saturday’s (June 24) NASCAR Xfinity Series Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway.
It’s Allmendinger’s second win of the season in just three starts, and his 17th career win in the series.
After nine cautions in the first 108 laps of the race, an 80-lap run allowed green flag pit stops for the first time all afternoon. Allmendinger lost two positions on the cycle, but was able to pass Chandler Smith and Cole Custer and take the lead from a strategy-playing Parker Kligerman with 15 laps to go.
A caution for a Chad Chastain spin on lap 182 put the race into its first of two overtime restarts. Some of the leaders, including Custer, came to pit road for scuff tires. Smith spun during the first overtime to bring out the caution for the final time on lap 188. Allmendinger got a great restart in the second attempt at overtime and cruised to victory.
“[The No. 10] car was really good … got caught up in a wreck on the one restart,” Allmendinger told NBC Sports after the race.
“Thought at least our chance to win was over. But the guys did such a great job.”
At the start of what became a long and caution-heavy afternoon, Custer and Chandler Smith led the field to the green flag. Immediately the first yellow flag waved for a crash in turn 1 involving Kyle Sieg, Ryan Sieg, Justin Allgaier and Stefan Parsons. Both Sieg brothers and Allgaier were able to continue.
After the restart, Austin Hill brought out the second caution on lap 8, spinning in turn 2, collecting Jeb Burton and Ryan Sieg again. After four laps of green, on lap 17, Chastain and Ryan Ellis made contact in turn 3. This brought out the third of an eventual 11 cautions.
Ty Gibbs took the lead after the restart on lap 20 and drove away to win stage one. Hill won the race off pit road after forgoing a tire change. The No. 21 crew was short a set of tires due to the earlier spin.
That call contributed to the next caution, as Hill made contact with Gibbs, spinning him into the wall and collecting Allmendinger and Friday’s Craftsman Truck Series winner Carson Hocevar, among others.
Custer took the lead on the lap 58 restart, but Connor Mosack soon brought out the sixth caution, spinning in turn 2 and colliding hard with the SAFER barrier. On lap 69, Sammy Smith, Sheldon Creed and Brandon Jones crashed in turn 2. Chandler Smith took the lead on the restart on lap 74 and cruised to a stage two win.
Smith won the race off of pit road and led the field to the green on lap 96, settling into the only run of the race to feature green-flag pit stops, battling late with Custer until Allmendinger passed them both. Kligerman stayed out after a tire issue put him off cycle with the leaders. He led until Allmendinger took the lead with 15 laps to go.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is back on track next week, taking to the streets of Chicago’s Grant Park for the very first time. You can watch the Loop 121 on Saturday (July 1) at 5 p.m. ET on USA Network.
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